Mystery age of Tredegar House revealed
10:02am Saturday 12th October 2013 in News
THE exact age of Newport’s Tredegar House - has now been revealed, thanks to a collaboration between three bodies investigating its origins.
Tredegar House, an outstanding British example of Restoration architecture, was thought to have been built by Sir William Morgan sometime between 1664 when he inherited the estate, and his death in 1680.
Now the Argus can reveal the Grade I-listed house was nearing completion in the winter of 1670-71, a decade after Charles II was restored to the throne.
The year 1671 was an important year for the Morgan clan - their distant relative, the famous pirate Henry Morgan was sailing the Spanish Main and made a fortune by seizing Panama.
With their seat in Newport, the Morgans were perfectly placed to buy up land which would later be vital to the shipping industry which came to dominate the city’s docklands.
The revelation came thanks to work commissioned by the National Trust and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW) in 2012, and carried out by the Oxford Dendrochronology Laboratory.
The research showed the Tudor wing of the house dates from 1544-74, but was rebuilt after a fire in the first half of the 17th century.
The estate’s opulent stable range, which is a rare surviving example of a stable of the period, was actually built at the same time as the house.
The secret to the house’s age was in the wood used to built it, as the Oxford lab was able to date the roof timbers of the house.
Stephanie Evans, National Trust conservation manager for South East Wales, explained the importance of the year 1671.
“It’s a very interesting period in history coming out of the Civil War when a lot of families in Wales were Royalists,” she said.
“Following the restoration of the king, the Morgan family seemed to have been blessed with support.
“They had quite a lot of wealth and felt confident in their position in the world, and as a result you get this big red brick building.”
Tredegar House provided the historic centre to one of the great Welsh estates, and was built up by the Morgan family from the 15th to 20th centuries.
John Morgan, the last Lord Tredegar, sold the house and its land in 1951 before it was eventually bought by the then Newport Borough Council in 1974, which opened it to the public.
Following an agreement with Newport City Council, the National Trust took over the management of Tredegar House, its gardens and parkland on March 16, 2012, on a 50-year lease.
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